Thirty-nine-year-old Ashish Kumar and his wife Babita were devastated when their daughter, who was about to celebrate her second birthday, died last week after falling from a balcony of their house in Rohini. However, their grief was somewhat salvaged when they found that the death of their little one had given a new lease of life to five patients including a 5-month-old infant, who were on their deathbed.
Twenty-month-old Dhanishtha has become the youngest cadaver donor in India. Her organs were donated to save the lives of five critically ill patients. Doctors at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi retrieved her heart, liver, both kidneys, and both corneas, and transplanted them in five patients including the infant.
Dhanishtha’s heart was transplanted in the infant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital. Her kidneys and liver were used in adults.
On January 8, Dhanishta fell from the first-floor balcony of her home while playing in the evening and became unconscious. She was rushed to Gangaram Hospital where despite the best efforts of the doctors, she did not regain consciousness. The doctors declared her brain dead on January 11.
However, the decision of donating her organs came voluntarily from her parents after they saw the plight of patients during their stay in the hospital.
“During our stay at the hospital, we saw many patients dying because of a lack of organs. When we asked the reason from the doctors, they told us that there is a scarcity of organ donors. We thought to donate organs of our child since there was no hope for her to come back to life," Kumar said while speaking to IANS.
“We had already lost our child and we did not want others to suffer the same fate. Hence we voluntarily asked the doctors to retrieve Dhanishtha’s organs and donate them to the needy ones. While she is not with us but we can see her living in others carrying her organs," he added.
Kumar is proud that his child became a medium to save the lives of five patients. “I will not say that I’m happy but whenever I would remember her, I would be proud that she became the reason for saving the lives of many patients," Kumar said.
“This proud moment will replace the painful memory," he added.
Gangaram Hospital authorities praised the family for their noble act while urging others to follow suit. “This noble act of the family is really praiseworthy and should motivate others. At 0.26 per million, India has among the lowest rate of organ donation. On an average 5 lakh Indians die every year due to lack of organs," said Dr D.S. Rana, Chairman, Gangaram Hospital.
Kumar also urged people for cadaver donation. “There are myths attached to it like the person whose organs are retrieved will be born without them in the next life. People should not believe in such things. If there is an opportunity to save the lives of others, one should do that," he said.